'The Complete Metropolis' with a Detroit Twist


DETROIT — On Friday, the Detroit Masonic Temple will display their recently restored 1927 Skinner Opus Organ while it whistles and tweets the score to the 1927 film directed by Fritz Lang “The Complete Metropolis.” Organist, Clark Wilson, a regular performer for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will visit Detroit to perform his adaptation of the original score in this one time performance of the 150 minute Sci-Fi classic.

This pioneer work of science fiction will be grandly displayed in the once known Cathedral Theatre, now renamed the Jack White theater, after it was made public that he was the anonymous donor that generously made a substantial donation to the Temple a few weeks back. In announcing Jack White’s identity as the anonymous donor, the Detroit Masonic Temple Association President Roger Sobran said: “Jack’s donation could not have come at a better time and we are eternally grateful to him for it.”

“The Complete Metropolis” was set in 2026 where wealthy industrialists rule the vast city of Metropolis from high-rise towers, while the working, lower class under-ground workers toil constantly to operate the machines that drive the power for industry. The film was chosen because it resonates with the Detroit audience. The themes of technology and the troubles of the workingman are all too common by Detroiters. The film also resonates with the theme of restoration. “The Complete Metropolis” is a reconstruction of the director’s original work, which was mostly cut from its debut in 1927. The film is widely considered one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

This Organ has 4,376 pipes in five chambers throughout the cathedral, creating a surrounding sound effect designed at a time when films didn’t yet have their own sound. Skinner Organ Co. of Boston designed the magnificent organ. The organ originally cost around $50,000 to construct, which is over $2 million in today’s market. Ironically the organ made its impacting debut in 1927, the same year Metropolis was released.

The purpose for this event is to help recuperate the money invested by the Temple to restore the historically significant Skinner Organ. Dr. William Jean Randall, adjunct professor at Rochester College and director of music at St. Paul’s United Methodist in Rochester is overseeing the restoration efforts for the organ.